According to Cole, Jeffery’s recent four-game suspension is expected to scare off “a number of teams” who could have interest in signing him. Beyond that, Cole says that the overall receiver market could be soft next year, given that there are some mid-tier options worth considering like Michael Floyd and DeSean Jackson available.
One other worthy consideration for NFL teams will be the 2017 draft class in which Cole believes as many as 10 receivers could be drafted in the first two rounds.
With all of this in mind, Cole says that Jeffery may have to accept a short-term contract, as opposed to some of the big-money deals handed out to receivers in recent years.
Jeffery received a four-game suspension for violating the NFL’s policy on performance-enhancing substances, which will cost him $3.6 million and possible even more money as an unrestricted free agent next year.
Jeffery, 26, was taken in the second-round of the 2012 NFL draft by the Bears. He played out the final year of his four-year, $4.54 million rookie contract that included a $1.74 million signing bonus before receiving the team’s franchise tag.
The franchise tag will run the Bears $14.599 million guaranteed for the 2016 season.
In 2016, Jeffery has appeared in nine games and caught 40 passes for 630 yards receiving and a touchdown for the Bears. Pro Football Focus has him rated as the No. 33 receiver out of 119 qualifying players.
We have him featured in our Top 30 – 2017 Free Agents list.